21-year-old’s arrest exposes larger classified documents problem

21-year-old’s arrest exposes larger classified documents problem

Sloppy presidents saving things for posterity. A secretary of state getting government data forwarded to her private email server. Ideologically motivated leakers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Reality Winner.

Now, maybe a 21-year-old airman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, a cyber transport systems specialist, apparently showing off to his teenage gaming buddies online.

If the many earlier and ongoing scandals regarding classified information aren’t a wakeup call that the US government has a problem, maybe the arrest of Jack Teixeira will do the trick.

Wearing a t-shirt, athletic shorts, dark socks and boots, Teixeira surrendered to a heavily armed FBI SWAT team outside his mother’s home on Thursday, as news helicopters hovered overhead.

He’s suspected of leaking classified data that has sent the US intelligence community scrambling, strained relations with foreign governments and jeopardized the valuable line of information that has given Americans insight into Russia’s moves in Ukraine.

But the profile of the suspected leaker that is emerging, and which undoubtedly could change quite a bit as we learn more, is not of a foreign spy or an ideologically motivated whistleblower – but rather, the ringleader of a gaming chatgroup who wanted to impress the teenagers he’d met online during the pandemic.